The Villain of Revelation, Pt. 2

Scripture: Revelation 12:8-9, Revelation 12:17, Revelation 16:14
Date: 02/19/2017 
If God is all-powerful, why did He even make an angel that could become a devil? Part 2 of 2

Cosmic Conflict - DVD or Digital Download

Cosmic Conflict - DVD or Digital Download
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For nine months between 1898 and 1899, two famous man-eating lions of Tsavo terrorized workers employed in the construction of a railway bridge in Uganda. As the death toll rose, construction was brought to a virtual standstill. The workers said they refused to continue until protection could be provided. Finally, the reign of terror was brought to an end when Lieutenant Colonel J.H. Patterson succeeded in tracking and killing the two lions that had devoured 135 men. The lions are now on permanent display in the field museum of Chicago. Even more deadly was a tigress in India that was reported to have killed and eaten 436 people in 1907 before it was killed. But the record for man eating goes to one lion that has devoured more than all these other cats combined.

1 Peter chapter 5, verse 8 advises us, "Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil is going around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he might devour." So how can we be protected against this man eater? Join me, friends, today, as we continue our exploration to understand the originator of sin, the devil.

Tonight we've got a subject that I think you're going to find very interesting and I hope you'll pray as we proceed, because we're going to be talking about that archfiend and 'Why is there evil in the world today?' Dealing with the villain of Revelation, better known as the devil. Satan is that archfiend. He is very real. I believe that, not only does God send good angels to our meetings, I believe that the devil tries to send representatives to distract and keep people from hearing the word.

There are battles that are raging. Paul talks about us not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers - spiritual forces of wickedness in high places. There is a God, there are good angels, and there is a devil - there is an evil power in the world. I think, as you look at what's happened in history, you'd have to say that there is evil. You look at what some terrorists do, where they put a person in a cage and douse them with gasoline and videotape as they set them on fire - that is just incarnate evil.

One of the reasons some people turn to God is they say, 'You know, I wasn't so sure about God but, when I became convinced that there was absolute evil, then I thought, there must be good. There must be God.' Amen. And we can certainly see the evidence for evil in the world. When God created Adam and Eve, what was the one thing he forbade them from doing? He said, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it." Amen? And that, by the way, is Genesis 2:17. He said, 'You know, you're free. This is a paradise. I've made this beautiful world - beautiful garden - it's all yours. I've got one restriction: the devil's been told the only place that he can campaign is at that tree. And you can choose to reject him and resist him and you'll never have any problems. But, if you engage him, it could be deadly. Don't eat from this forbidden fruit.'

And they didn't listen - the fruit of the tree, yeah. He said, "For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Now, what the Lord means by that is, 'in dying, you will die' - is the way that reads in the Hebrew - that you will definitely die eventually. They died spiritually the day they disobeyed and, of course, Adam and eve both died within that first millennia. 'A day with the Lord is like a thousand years,' right? And so, we know the story. What medium did Satan use to deceive eve and what lies did Satan tell her? Well, you know, he appeared through the medium of a serpent.

Now, the serpent is just another creature, but it says it was a very hypnotic, beautiful, subtle creature. "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made...then the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die.'" First question in the Bible is he questioned God's word - 'Hath God said' - you notice the cynicism - doubting the Word of God. All the sin in our world today comes from the devil doubting the Word of God. And he said, 'You're not really going to die. Don't - God didn't really mean what he said.' And, because our first parents chose not to believe God's Word and, instead, they believed the devil, we've got all these problems. Revelation 12 - notice, Satan is also called 'that old serpent' - "...the dragon was cast out, that serpent...called the devil and Satan" - so there's no question who the dragon, who the serpent, who the devil - you know, the word 'Satan' means 'adversary'. And, if you take the word 'devil' and you take off the 'd', what do you have? Evil. Evil. He is consummate evil.

And then, finally, that first prophecy - the Lord says, there in Genesis 3:15, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed;" And so, through the book of Revelation and all through the Bible, you see this contest going on between the seed of the woman - Christ's followers - and - of course, Jesus is the ultimate seed of the woman - and the dragon - the devil - battle between good and evil. You've all heard the fairy tales about the knight in shining armor that saves the maiden from the dragon. Kind of - all those are kind of rooted in some truth that you find in the Bible. You can also see it again here in Revelation 12:17 where it tells us that "The dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring," - you see Jesus - Genesis - talked about the seed of the woman. Here, you go to the end of the Bible - beginning of the Bible you've got the dragon, the serpent, the woman, the seed of the woman.

Now you go to Revelation, you've got the dragon, the serpent, and the woman - and he's trying to destroy the seed of the woman. We'll get back to that on another study. Who does he especially hate? The descendants of the woman "who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus" - they've got the testimony of Jesus. And so, the devil hates people that obey God's commandments. So, why was eating a piece of fruit such a deadly offense? It's just a piece of fruit; why all the trouble in the world from eating the wrong thing? Well, because, first of all, God commanded them not to.

I did an amazing fact - you know, every week we do amazing facts on our radio program and I did an amazing fact about the manchineel tree - they actually grow here in Florida and around the Caribbean - and it's called 'the tree of death'. Columbus called them 'death apples'. They have apples and they look very luscious. They even smell sweet. But if you eat one you could easily die. It'll cause - it'll burn your throat - your throat would swell up and it can cause - it will cause all kinds of gastronomical problems and permanent injury and liver and kidney problems. If you're even under that tree when it's raining, the sap from the tree coming onto your skin can blister your skin. It's a very toxic tree. And they've got these signs everywhere - 'Warning! - Stay away from this tree!'

I read about a tourist that was in some Caribbean island where there was one of these trees - they keep them for erosion on the coast - and they didn't have a sign. And she and her friend said, 'Oh, that looks good.' And, oh, they had all kinds of miserable problems and pain and suffering because they ate this deadly tree.

Well, God told Adam and eve not to eat the tree and, it wasn't that the fruit hurt them, it was the disobedience that did it. You see, the Bible says, in Romans 6:16, "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves [or servants] to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness." And, when Adam and Eve decided to follow the teachings - or the suggestion of the serpent - the devil, instead of God, they surrendered the dominion of this world that God had given Adam and Eve, to the enemy. You see, Adam was to have dominion of the world - and Eve. And when they chose to listen to the devil instead of God, they handed over the keys and the devil decided to continue his rebellion with this planet as the beachhead for his war against God.

What are some of Satan's methods that he uses to deceive, discourage, or to destroy people? We're going to go through a list of things here. First of all, it says Satan is the one who deceives the whole world. Satan is a deceiver. Deception is the co-mingling of truth and error. He will take something good and he'll mix in something bad. And you don't realize how deadly and dangerous it is. He came to Jesus in the wilderness and he tempted Him. Do you think the devil appeared as - when the devil came to tempt Jesus in the wilderness and he's fasted 40 days, you think Satan just kind of plopped down on the ground and he had his red leotards and his, you know, his goat feet - I never did mention the goat feet. How many of you remember the devil's got goat feet, right? I'm being sarcastic, sorry. And he, you know, his horns and his bat wings and he said, 'I've got a proposition for you.' Would you listen to anybody that looked like that, that came with a proposition?

How do you think he appeared to Jesus? Remember, we quoted that verse - he can appear as an angel of light. He was being deceptive. Christ was there in the wilderness tempted by the devil. Satan tempts. Now, you'll often say, 'Jesus save me' - and I almost had a car accident but Jesus saved me.' Really, Jesus probably did it through His angels. Sometimes you'll say 'The devil tempted me.' I don't know if any of you remember a comedian named Flip Wilson. He became famous for saying, 'The devil made me do it.' The devil - can the devil make you? Not unless you're demon possessed - most of us have to cooperate. We surrender our wills. If the devil had taken Eve and held her to the ground and pushed the forbidden fruit in her mouth, it would not have been a sin. But she had to willingly choose. And, typically when we sin, we are choosing to do what we know is not right. So he's a tempter.

Can the devil work miracles? Revelation chapter 16, verse 14 - and our special emphasis in our prophecy encounter in Revelation says, 'They are the spirits of devils working miracles.’ So, can the devil counterfeit the miracles of God? You remember the story in the Bible when Moses came before pharaoh and said, 'Let my people go' and to show that God was with him he threw his staff down and it turned into a serpent. The pharaoh called in his magicians - they threw down their staffs - they turned into serpents. Was that the power of God or the power of the devil? Satan can do signs and wonders and miracles. So some people say, 'Well, I listen to that pastor because he does miracles - he does signs and wonders.' If he's not following the Word of God, those miracles can be counterfeits. And so, don't forget the devil can counterfeit those signs and wonders. In fact, Revelation 13:13 - that same chapter where it talks about the Mark of the beast, it says, "he performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men."

The devil does have power and so, our decision about following Jesus cannot be based upon signs and wonders and miracles, it needs to be based upon 'Thus saith the Lord' - amen? Because Satan, himself, can be transformed into an angel of light. Matter of fact, I believe the masterpiece - see, God came into the world through a man, Jesus, to teach us the truth. Before the end of time, I think Satan is going to either thoroughly possess a man or impersonate Christ, and he's going to try to do his masterpiece performance pretending to be Christ. Jesus said, 'There'll be false Christs and false prophets' - and there have been through history - but I'll tell you, in the last days, I think that he is saving his main act for the final days when he is going to claim to be Christ. Isn't that what he always wanted, to be Jesus? He's going to act that out in the world and he'll do signs and wonders and he will quote the Bible and, if it were possible, even the very elect would be deceived.

What will prevent the very elect from being deceived? They're going to see an inconsistency between what this false Christ says and what Jesus said in His Word. That's why we need to know our Bibles, amen?

Don't go anywhere, friends, in just a moment we'll be back to complete today's presentation.

Have you ever had friends ask you if God is good and if He's loving then why is there evil? Why do the innocent suffer? We have a very special, powerful DVD documentary we'd like to send you for free. It's called "The Cosmic Conflict." This compelling movie traces the origin of sin and talks about Lucifer's rebellion. It helps us understand why there is evil in the world today and more importantly how you can have victory over sin. To get your free copy call the phone number on the you screen and ask for offer #809 or visit the web address, and after you watch this incredible resource please sure and share it with a friend. So, how about we get back to today's presentation and learn some more amazing facts from the Word of God.

Jesus warned us, in Matthew 7, beware of the devil that he is as - it says, 'These false prophets who will come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.' And, I think we all know there have been some pastors and evangelists out there that they put on a good show, but on the inside it was all about them - it was all about gaining money or wealth or fame, but the ministers of Christ are going to lift up Christ and His Word. Revelation 12:10 - another thing the devil does - he's called 'the accuser of the brethren'. He's always casting innuendo.

You remember the story in the Bible where, at the supper, Mary gave this beautiful gift to Jesus and she anointed His feet - anointed His head and His feet with this oil and cried and washed His feet with her tears. You remember the story? And Judas saw her generosity and it - it convicted his greed, because he was a thief, and he said, 'What a terrible waste of money. All this could have been sold and given to the poor.' He began to accuse her - that's the spirit of the devil. You remember when Satan, in the Bible, in the book of Job, Satan appears to the Lord and says, 'Oh, the only reason Job serves you is because You've hedged him in.' And you can read in the book of Zechariah how the devil is there - he's pointing to Joshua the high priest and he's accusing his dirty garments. Satan is always accusing God's people.

Jesus came to resurrect Moses and the devil said, 'You can't have him, he sinned. And Michael said, 'The Lord rebuke thee.' So the devil is always - he's out to get us - he's to accuse us before God - the accuser of the brethren. You probably know some people like that, right? Always gossiping and putting other people down - that's not the Spirit of God. Something else we learned about him, Jesus said, 'He is a murderer from the beginning.'

How powerful and effective are Satan's temptations and his strategies? That's our next question. Well, it says there'll be false Christs and false prophets. They will rise and they're going to show great signs and wonders to deceive many. We also just read about that - signs and wonders - devils - in Revelation. It goes on to say, in Matthew 24, 'If it were possible they'd deceive even the very elect.' "Be sober, be vigilant;" - Peter says - 1 Peter 5:8 - "because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."

I remember about a year ago, Karen and I were in South Africa with Pastor Ross and his wife, and we went to this park and we saw the world's largest pride of white lions. And they're beautiful to look at but, boy they were vicious when they fed them. We got to watch them when they ate. They weren't very - you know, they don't share very well - lions - and lions use deception when they hunt. They get - you know, one lion goes around behind the gazelle or the zebra and the other one roars and they'd go running off into the mouth of the lionesses. The devil uses deception - he's prowling all the time - pacing - trying to find someone to devour. It says, 'Be sober, be vigilant' - and resist him steadfast in the faith. He's seeking whom he might devour.

Now there are three principle areas of temptation - the Bible talks about - you've got the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life. These are the same three areas where Jesus was tempted. He came to Christ, he said, 'if You're The Son of God, command that these stones become bread.' - This is a physical temptation. You might be thinking, 'Oh, Jesus has never been tempted like me. He didn't have to struggle with cigarettes.' Or maybe He didn't have to struggle - maybe you've got a crack addiction - it doesn't matter what it is - it might be food - whatever your addiction is. The Bible tells us that you've got the lust of the flesh - physical addiction - whatever it is, Jesus got the victory over that. You can get the victory through Christ. That was one category. Jesus answered with the Word of God, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'' So, in the Word of God is where you find the antidote for these temptations. There's power in the Word of God. The world came into existence through the Word of God. And so, when we speak and claim the promises of God, He gives us victory. Amen.

Then the devil took Him to the holy city and he set Him on the pinnacle of the temple and he said, 'If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down, for it is written' - whoa, what? Now the devil's quoting the Bible. You mean the devil reads the Bible? I thought the devil was afraid of the Bible. You think owning a Bible's going to scare the devil. 'Pastor Doug, the devil won't bother me. I've got a Bible right by my nightstand. I never read it, but it's there.' It's like my friend who hung a cross from his mirror, I said, 'What's that for?' I said, 'You're not very religious.' He said,' 'I don't want to have a problem when I'm driving drunk so I hang my cross up there.' Good luck charm - 'No, I don't take up my cross, but I hang it on my mirror' - as though there's some value in that. That's not what's going to save you.

Owning a Bible's not going to save you. 'Thy word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.' You've got to read it and then you quote it back to the devil. So he's quoting the Bible to Jesus. 'It is written, 'He'll give His angel charge over you.'' He's quoting - or misquoting, actually, Psalm 91. He didn't quote the whole thing. Jesus came back and 'Oh, it is written, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'' By the way, all three times, when Jesus met the temptations of the devil, He quotes from the book Deuteronomy. So, Old Testament was good enough for Jesus, it still should be good enough for us today, too, right? Along with the New Testament. But don't throw away your Old Testament.

Again, the devil took Him to an exceeding high mountain and he shows Him all the kingdoms of the world in all their glory. He doesn't show the slums, he doesn't show the problems, he doesn't show the traffic jams. He says, 'All this I'll give You if You just fall down and worship me.' Now the devil is showing his true colors. What did he want? Worship. He wants the worship - if Jesus would worship him He would be God. He said, 'You don't have to die. You've come to die - You don't have to die, just bow down and worship me. I'll give it to You.' And what did Jesus say? "Get thee behind Me, Satan. You shall worship the Lord God and Him only shall you serve. You shall not have other Gods." And the devil left him for a season. The Bible says, 'Resist the devil and he'll flee from you.'

And you read, again, in Ephesians 6:11, "Put on the whole armor of God that you might be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." God knows we're going to have battles and we need to be armed. You need to resist. You need to be prepared, every day, to deny self and say 'Yes' to Jesus. And, the more you love Jesus, the easier it is to obey Him and resist the devil.

Amen. Because the devil will always appeal to your selfishness. And, again, it says in Ephesians 6:17, "...the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God;" 'The Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. Revelation - Jesus is pictured, in chapter 19, coming with a sword coming out of His mouth, meaning the Word of God is in His mouth. There you've got that verse in Hebrews 4, verse 12, "For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword," - you read the word, it'll convict you from sin.

But you also find promises and power in the Word to resist temptation. I think it was D.L. Moody that said, 'The Bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Bible.' So, if you're struggling with temptation, the devil hates when people are on their knees and in the word. Amen? Therefore, submit yourself to God - great promise in the book of James chapter 4 - "Submit to God. Resist the devil" - you can't resist the devil until you surrender to God - "Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." Amen. Amen? Amen.

Who makes the final, complete eradication of sin from the universe a certainty? John 3:8 - "For this is the purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." Jesus is going to completely erase what the devil has done. He began on the cross. He will complete it with His coming and the great judgment, but the Lord is going to - and He can give you complete recovery in your life too. I haven't met a person who had a sin that was too big for Jesus. I have known people that have gotten the victory over alcohol and cigarettes and drug and abuse and all kinds of problems because they got a new heart and they became a new creature. And what He did for them He can do for you. Amen.

Don't stop believing that God is more powerful. And, again, it goes on to say in Hebrews 2, verse 14, "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He (Jesus) himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil." Through the death of Christ He is going to destroy the power of Satan and what he's done.

So what is it that forever settles the horrible problem of sin? And will sin ever rise up again the second time? No. What settles it is the sacrifice of Jesus. And you can read in the book of Nahum - a little book in the Bible, but it's got a great promise there - chapter 1, verse "...affliction (sin) will not rise up a second time." Amen. You know, when Jesus rose from the dead, did He still have the nail scars in His hands? Yes. It's like that verse in Zechariah, 'And one shall say unto Him, 'What are these wounds in Your hands?'' Some of these Old Testament characters, they may get there and say, 'What happened, Lord? We don't understand.' When Jesus rose, He still had the scars. And, through eternity, when we see the scars in His hands, we'll see how much He paid that we might be forgiven. The universe will never want to repeat the experiment of selfishness and sin again. It will be forever cured. You'll never have to worry about that again.

There's a beautiful appeal in the book of Ezekiel 18, verse 30 , "repent and turn from all of your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart" - He says, 'I'm offering it to you' - "and a new spirit. For why should you die, o houses of Israel?" Moses - he said, 'I'm setting before you life and good, blessing and death' - 'Life and death, blessing and cursing' - you choose - 'Choose life,' He said. The devil came into the world and he brought death and sin and suffering. God has no pleasure in the death of anyone.

You know, I remember hearing a story years ago, about a father that was sailing through some warm Caribbean water - just a father and two boys on an excursion. He was a good sailor and he took his boys along - teenage boys - and, at one point, they were going through some islands - my dad - I used to live in Miami - he'd take us on the boat through the islands down there in the Caribbean. And the father told the boys - they're on a sailboat - he said, 'Now, we're going by a section of waters - there's a chicken slaughterhouse on that island over there and there's a lot of sharks and they're very vicious because they've gotten the taste of blood. Don't fall in the water here. There's places you can snorkel and dive and it's great, but don't go in the water here.'

The boys, they hadn't seen any sharks and they were running around playing on the deck of the ship and one of them - wrestling with his brother - he grabbed his t-shirt and he started to tumble over and he pulled his brother with him. They both went splash off into the warm Caribbean waters. Well, the father heard the splash and he went running up on deck and, of course, the boat is moving along, it's just sailing slowly. And he dropped the sail and he did what he could to stop the boat and he looked off and he saw his boys - it was a calm day - he saw his boys off there pushing and splashing. And right at that point, the father, for just a moment he saw a dorsal fin pop over the surface. From his vantage in the boat he could see it, but they couldn't see it.

And he said, 'Boys, there's sharks! Get quickly and calmly back to the boat.' The boys looked at each other and they said, 'Oh man, dad is trying to scare us. We've been sailing for days, we have not seen a single shark. He's just' - they didn't believe it. And then they said, 'Okay, help, shark! Shark!' And they started to pretend and they're swimming very slowly back to the boat. You know, they're like 50 yards away and the father saw the sharks beginning to gather.

He could see up in the boat - the sharks were underneath the surface and they were tightening their circle. And, you know the way a shark works, it'll continue to close the circle and it gets closer - and one of them, it eventually has the courage to come in and bite. And once they taste blood, they then go into a frenzy and they can smell one drop of blood in like 38,000 or million gallons of water - it's phenomenal. But he saw them closing their circle and he realized that there was just a whole herd of sharks out there that were going to come in. He was going to lose his boys.

And, in a desperate, final measure to save his boys, the father ran below deck, he went to the galley, he grabbed a knife, he ran up on top of the boat, he cut his wrists, he dove in the water and he swam in a different direction. All of a sudden, the boys saw, as the water began to churn and turn red off in this other direction and - now here's the question: if those boys decide to stay in the water, is there anything more their father can do for them?

After God gave His son and He poured out His blood to save us from the devil, if we choose to stay in the world and in sin, what more do you want Him to give than His life - to save you?

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